31ST ANNUAL L.A. WEEKLY THEATER AWARDS
Yeah, we know, there was apparently no glue in the frames, so recipients who held their coveted Lawee prizes on the stage of the El Rey Monday night frequently suffered the indignity of having their prize drop to the floor like an anchor. After about the sixth time, it became not only farcical, but pretty obvious that this had nothing to do with the recipients' state of nerves or perspiration, but on a problem with the design of the awards. Next year, we'll be looking into the possibility of awards that don't fall to pieces on the stage.
Taking the year 1960, and flying with it, the ensemble of Life Could Be a Dream (Doug Carpenter, Ryan Castellino, Jim Holdridge, Daniel Tatar and Jessica Keenan Wynn) hosted the 31st annual L.A. Weekly Theater Awards before a crowd of about 600, mostly costumed as though for a ball hosted by Jacqueline Kennedy. (There was some James Dean-ish leather in the house, sort of like crashing a party hosted by JK.) In a moving tribute, L.A. Council President Eric Garcetti presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, given post-humous to the Fountain Theatre's Ben Bradley, and received by Stephen Sachs. Bradley was found murdered in his apartment on January 2. Other presenters included Lee Meriwether and Executive Director of Los Angeles Stage Alliance, Terence McFarland. In a nicely droll performance, McFarland participated in a mock ritual honoring those neglected by the sundry abuses of the awards process.
Our critic Amy Nicholson posted a video of that ritual on Facebook. It features members of our Awards committee, left to right: Bill Raden, Nicholson and Lovell Estell III. Narrating from across the stage are Los Angeles Stage Alliance's Terence McFarland and yours truly. See if you can tell us apart.
The Colony Theatre's Barbara Beckley honored the memory of Lars Hansen, and got in a spot of hot water when saying that had he still been the executive director of the Pasadena Playhouse (as he was from 1988-1999), that theater would still be open for business. The remark was intended to credit Hansen, not to belittle the Playhouse's most recent administration, whom Beckley described as "lovely, lovely people." The late actress Nan Martin was honored via a pre-recorded anecdotal tribute from Gordon Davidson.
The show, sleekly directed by Michael Matthews, with go-go dancers and interludes from two award-winning productions (Life Could Be a Dream and Altar Boyz), clocked in at exactly two hours, accompanied by a band conducted by Michael Paternostro.
On receiving his Male Comedy Performance Award for Block Nine, Jeremy Glazer remarked on this first night of Passover, that he always wanted to be a good actor and good Jew, and that at least he was halfway there. That's a scheduling glitch to be improved next year.
For a complete list of Awards recipients, press the More tab directly below.
*PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR
Block Nine Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
*REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE YEAR (of a 20th- or 21st-century work) (TIE)
Equus, The Production Company at the Chandler Studio Theatre
Shining City, The Fountain Theatre
*MUSICAL OF THE YEAR
Life Could Be a Dream, The Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Stephen Sachs, Coming Home, Fountain Theatre
*DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL
Rick Sparks, Divorce! The Musical, The Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Peter Uribe and Emilie Beck, Block Nine, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
David O, Divorce! The Musical, The Hudson Mainstage Theatre
Coming Home, Fountain Theatre
Munched, Buzzworks Theatre Company at the El Centro Theatre
Altar Boyz, Celebration Theatre
The Devil With Boobs, Open Fist Theatre Company
*LEADING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Samantha Sloyan, Munched, Buzzworks Theatre Company at the El Centro Theatre
*LEADING MALE PERFORMANCE
Morlan Higgins, Shining City, Fountain Theatre
*SUPPORTING FEMALE PERFORMANCE
Andrea Hutchman, Munched, Buzzworks Theatre Company at the El Centro Theatre
*SUPPORTING MALE PERFORMANCE
Thomas Silcott, Coming Home, Fountain Theatre
Casey Smith, Violators Will be Violated, Circle X Theater Company at Son of Semele Theatre
*FEMALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Devin Sidell, Land of the Tigers, Burglars of Hamm and Sacred Fools
*MALE COMEDY PERFORMANCE
Jeremy Glazer, Block Nine, Elephant Theatre Company at the Lillian Theatre
*PLAY WRITING (TIE)
Lydia R. Diamond, Stick Fly, The Matrix Theatre Company
Jim Leonard, Battle Hymn, Circle X Theatre Company at [Inside] the Ford
Bennett A. Bradley (posthumous)
*QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
Accomplice: Hollywood Produced by Tom Salamon and Neil Patrick Harris, at various locations
Jonas Oppenheim, Hamlet Shut Up, Sacred Fools Theatre Company
Leigh Allen, Treefall, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
Christina Wright, The Illusion, Open Fist Theatre Company
Stephanie Kerley Schwartz, Treefall, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
Joseph "Sloe" Slawinski, Treefall, Rogue Machine at Theatre/Theater
Ameenah Kaplan, Altar Boyz, Celebration Theatre
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Pat Rubio, Gogol Project, Rogue Artists Ensemble at Bootleg Theatre
Cristina Bercovitz, Monkey Madness, Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble at the Powerhouse Theatre
Michael A. Levine, Battle Hymn, Circle X Theatre Company at [Inside] the Ford
Victor Warren, Stranger, Bootleg Theatre